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Lesson Learned

Greetings Travelers,

Preparing for a trip to Ireland, I carefully studied this forum and the many good ideas people offered. Based on thoughtful recommendations, I finally ordered a pair of Allbirds Wool Runners - and I'm glad I did. However I made one mistake that could have been avoided. I assumed my shoe size based on shoes I've worn for several years. Don't do that!

On receiving these shoes from the sheep in New Zealand, I discovered that the left shoe was a bit snug (though the right shoe is a perfect fit). It turns out my left foot is more than a half size larger than my right foot - and this is apparently not uncommon. The solution was to have my feet measured by a local shoe store and in the end I opted for a high quality pair of running shoes with a size slightly larger than my right foot. The Allbirds served as backup shoes.

I'll be getting my feet measured before the next trip, that's for sure!

Garrison

Posted by
3899 posts

As someone who sold 'better quality' shoes for 12 years - even measuring isn't always the best way, as there doesn't seem to be a standard - just like when purchasing clothes. We didn't even have anything to measure feet.

I've had anything from a 6.5 to an 8 (I had 2 pr of Hush Puppies winter boots - first pair I bought were an 8, second pair a 6.5!). I'm generally a US7, but my Blundstones convert to be an 8. We'd have people come in for Birkenstocks and some would wear their usual size, others would go a size down, and I'd had others go 2 sizes up.

For me, unless I am getting a pair of footwear I've already had (I'll order Blundstones online because I know which size fits from having multiple pairs) I'd much rather go try them on...it's hit or miss. I know that's not always doable.

Posted by
37 posts

Though it is a good idea to have your feet measured every so often, it's even better to try on different shoe styles and sizes. The type of sock you wear can make a big difference in the fit too! If they are not comfortable when you first try them on, don't buy them. In a shoe store that specializes in good walking and/or athletic shoes (such as Walking Company, Ecco, REI), the sales clerks can recommend the right type of shoe for the activities you are planning to do. Break shoes in before your trip, regardless of how comfortable they are. Your feet will thank you.

Posted by
1453 posts

I did much the same thing, in assuming my feet were the same size they have always been.
I ended up having to order a pair of snow/winter boots in a full size larger than my normal, to go to Iceland last month.
I was horrified; but I guess my feet have spread with ageing.

Posted by
6857 posts

Never a good idea to buy something like a pair of shoes recommended by people who don't sell shoes, or especially online, without going to the old fashioned brick and mortar store to try them on especially a brand you never wore before.

Posted by
19 posts

Always size for the bigger foot as you can use insoles and padding for the shoe on the smaller foot. I think a good pair of running shoes is a good bet and that is what I'm brining to Ireland in May. I plan to wear them walking, light hiking as well as running. My alternate pair of shoes will either be light hikers or a sneaker type like the Allbirds but I tend to lean Nike for that. Also, for a bit of extra support, look into Superfeet inserts - REI carries them as well as most athletic shoe stores. You would use them to replace the insoles currently in your shoes but they give much improved support for lots of activity.

Posted by
8431 posts

I understand people recommending brick and mortar shoe stores and that’s great when you have stores nearby that carry shoes to fit your feet. My feet are difficult to fit and I wear CorrectToes toe spacers so need very wide foot-shaped shoes. My solution is to order a variety of sizes and widths, if available, from Zappos. Love their free shipping and free returns.

Glad you got something to fit!!

Posted by
66 posts

Pam,
What brands does Zappos carry that can accommodate Correct Toes? I have been relying on Lems and the new Softstar Primal Runamoc (really ugly, but so comfortable).

Posted by
8431 posts

Altras will accommodate the Correct Toes. I've got the Lone Peaks in both the shoe and boot plus multiple other pairs. They are not as minimalist as Lems but they are wide enough.

I had some New Balance waterproof boots that were in a wide that I thought would accommodate them but after a day hiking my feet had changed enough that they were not comfortable.

editing to add: Those Run Amocs are very cute. If your feet like those the Altras may be too much shoe for you. I also have some Leguano minimalist shoes - ballerina style. They do not have any stores in the US but they ship from Canada pretty quickly. My feet aren't strong enough to wear these outside yet but planning to work on it this summer when the weather is better.

Posted by
66 posts

Thanks, Pam. I wore Altras when I had a bad tear in my plantar fascia and needed some cushioning. Once it healed, I switched to the Lems and Softstars and have had very good luck with them. The Softstars are not for walking on concrete or cobblestones all day, but are great on trails or just wearing around town. The Lems Boulder Boot is great for all day walking, city or country.